I astound even myself some days.
I’ve been reading, talking and thinking a lot about the judgement that can come with motherhood, well, ever since I became a mother.
For the past three years, I have been hurt, insensed and defensively judgemental. Whenever I felt like my beliefs or actions as a parent were under attack, I roared. The best defence is offence, right?
To be honest, all of that feeling, thinking, hating? It got me nowhere.
It made me feel awful about myself. It made me feel awful about my children.
And mostly, it made me feel awful about other people.
I am incredibly and shamefully afraid to know that I hurt anybody with all the hoopla that surrounds parental judgement.
I am a reformed forum junkie, and I will never go back to forum crack as long as I live. Forum crack turns me into a self doubting, suspicious, nasty piece of work. And that is not who I am.
I was sitting here tonight, eating chocolate and looking at an unopened bottle of wine. Pal brought these things home for me in the grocery shopping after hearing I had a difficult afternoon with the kids. Bless him.
So I was eating my chocolate, and reading the iBot posts from this week. Commenting where I felt it appropriate.
And something occurred to me.
I am not afraid of being judged as a mother any more. And, furthermore – now that I am no longer afraid, I am no longer judgemental of other parents.
Of course I might inwardly groan (just a little) when I see something that does not gel with my parenting ideal. But it doesn’t eat me up inside.
Of course I do not agree with all that other parent’s do, or their children for that matter. But it doesn’t make me want to say anything to them.
My primary concern doesn’t rest with those parents or their children, and does rest with my parenting and my own children.
I couldn’t care less if your house is clean, or filthy (like mine).
I couldn’t care less if you don’t breastfeed, can’t breastfeed or practice self-weaning.
I couldn’t care less if you choose a carrier, a pram, a fanny pack or a spaceship to carry your kid around in.
I couldn’t care less if you had your baby via your vajayjay being torn asunder, or your stomach being ripped open; in hospital, at home, or in the back of an ambulance (some poor woman from my town had her twins in the back of the ambo recently, WONDER WOMAN). It all involves some kind of superhuman stretching, tearing and pain. Oh, and by the way, did you have a baby? That’s good, because with all the hoopla I was worried we were expected to birth the next messiah.
Of course I am happy for you to be interested, careful and considerate in your choices as parents. In fact, that is probably the preferred, but not necessary, method.
Of course I am happy to give you advice when I am asked, and sometimes when I am not. Or to tell you I have no freaking clue and I make it all up as I go along.
And of course I am going to bloody laugh when my (or your) kid has a tantrum in public. It’s FUNNY! Seriously, there is a miniature person, cracking a complete hurricane of a tantrum in the middle of a coffee shop because they wanted a pink marshmallow instead of a white one. Please tell me – what about that ISN’T funny?
So, ladies and gents. If you are lucky, blessed and grateful for being a parent, I am incredibly happy for you! Really, I am. There are no conditions. You don’t get a license to be a parent. You get handed a bundle of squawk and you are expected to keep it safe until it is capable of taking care of itself. Your Squawk might do this at 3, they might be 33. Who cares, man – they are ALIVE! There are people in this world who are not nearly so lucky as you. I’ve come close to facing that reality and my life changed because of it. As did my attitude.
Take that knowledge and run with it. It’s the last thing you want to find out via your own experience.
That is all.
Images via weheartit